5 Reasons Downtown Iowa City is Great for Business
There’s always something happening in Iowa City’s downtown district, and your business can be part of the action. Downtown Iowa City combines a walkable urban environment with a unique concentration of students, professionals and visitors to create a prime location for an office, restaurant or retail establishment. If your business needs a new home, consider these five reasons to locate in the Hawkeyes’ hometown.
1) The Location
Downtown boasts more than 1,100 residents, with another 19,000 located within a mile. That means plenty of foot traffic and a large base of potential employees to draw from. Downtown is also directly adjacent to the University of Iowa campus, which has roughly 32,000 students and employs about 30,000 faculty and staff - all of whom need places to eat, shop and play. You’ll also be near Iowa City’s public library, which draws more than 825,000 visitors every year - that’s more than all of the Hawkeye home football games combined, according to the Iowa City Downtown District organization.
2) Easy to Access
Iowa City makes it easy for people to head downtown. City-owned parking ramps are free for the first hour to encourage people to visit often. All three local bus lines (Iowa City, Coralville and the university’s free Cambus system) also stop downtown; Cambus alone serves more than 70,000 people every year. Iowa City is also eminently walkable; in fact, it has both the highest pedestrian counts and the highest Walk Score in the state.
Aside from the Iowa City Downtown District team, new businesses can also count on the support of local partners dedicated to helping them succeed. Depending on your needs, you can benefit from the extensive knowledge of the city, the Chamber of Commerce, the assessor’s office, the Iowa City Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Iowa City Development Group, the Venture School at the University of Iowa, and language and acclimation assistance for people who are new to the area.
4) Incentives and Investment Help
Take advantage of a mix of financial incentives and free assistance to get your business started right. The Iowa City Downtown District can include you in its comprehensive business listing, the most complete resource for the region. This will put your business in front of people who are ready to patronize it. The organization also offers free, confidential location inquiries as part of its mission to ensure a diverse mix of businesses downtown; the results will help you find the perfect place to locate.
5) Valuable Networking Opportunities
Are you opening a retail or restaurant business? Join the district’s Retail or Restaurant Caucuses - you’ll get to know other local business owners and gain valuable leads in marketing, advertising, public relations and event planning.
Downtown establishments also host a District-facilitated happy hour once a month dubbed “First Round,” featuring creative influencers from Iowa City’s business and arts communities. A different area business buys the first round of drinks each month. This low-pressure setting can be another valuable networking opportunity that could ultimately benefit your business.